The march of celebrations is upon us, and with it, lots of excitement around food.
Of course, as with many things in our American society, anything that is exciting and fun is also riddled with anxiety. From Halloween through New Year’s, it can seem like one long food binge of tasty treats and accompanying guilt.
Add kids to this mix and you’re in for quite the conundrum.
Halloween was a main concern when my son was diagnosed with food allergies.
The thought of him missing out on all the fun because he was limited to boxes of raisins was almost too much to bear. The day-to-day food needs seemed like something we could handle, but that one night a year the earth’s axis spins on a bite-size Snicker’s — insurmountable.
Of course, as he has gotten a bit older, he loves Halloween and doesn’t seem to mind sifting through his bag o’ treats to see what he can and can’t have. Generally, the party at his best buddy’s house is actually a much bigger draw, and for now, he seems cool with it. For now.
Then, along comes my allergy-free daughter, who is the most committed person on the planet to snack foods and dessert. Every single meal, every single day, she asks for dessert.
Most meals she won’t even touch, but still asks for dessert.
Probably 80 percent of the words we have spoken to her in the past year have been phrases like, “We don’t have dessert after breakfast.” I admire her persistence, but thinking about the impending three month-long dessert-a-thon, I worry we will lose our precarious grip.
I, of course, am not without my own inner turmoil. I love this season with all of its festivity and the traditions around food and family. When the air starts to cool, it is my favorite time to make rich soups and hearty breads.
I’ll make a pumpkin pie long before Thanksgiving, just because there was a pumpkin in my path at the grocery store. A trip to Trader Joe’s for just one thing ends up being $80 and 2500 calories.
I vow to exercise more, but it’s also getting cold and ugh… just pass the hot chocolate.
For better or worse, I think this is the American way.
We love to celebrate, we love to eat, we love to snuggle up on the couch. We also have an obesity epidemic and eating disorders are plaguing plenty of women and men.
Navigating the waters of raising your children to be active little healthy eaters while still wanting them to enjoy the spoils of the holiday season is a tremendous task for parents.
I am a firm believer in the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with food, and as you know, all good relationships take work. So, this season, I’ll be working on that delicate balance of enjoyment without overindulgence. And maybe, just maybe, one morning my daughter won’t ask for dessert after eating waffles.